2014 Conference

Keynote Speakers

Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D


Dr. Gordon Neufeld is a Vancouver-based developmental psychologist with over 40 years of experience with children and youth and those responsible for them. A foremost authority on child development, Dr. Neufeld is an international speaker, a bestselling author (Hold On To Your Kids) and a leading interpreter of the developmental paradigm.

Dr. Neufeld has a widespread reputation for making sense of complex problems and for opening doors for change. While formerly involved in university teaching and private practice, he now devotes his time to teaching and training others, including educators and helping professionals.

His Neufeld Institute is now a world-wide charitable organization devoted to applying developmental science to the task of raising children. Dr. Neufeld appears regularly on radio and television. He is a father of five and a grandfather to five.

You can read more about Dr. Neufeld at http://www.neufeldinstitute.com/about/gordon

Alvin Law

Alvin Law

 Over 13,000 babies around the world were deformed in the early 1960’s because of a morning sickness drug, Thalidomide. Alvin Law was born without arms after his birth mother, thinking it was completely safe, used just a couple of the tiny pills and their lives were forever altered.

Alvin attended regular schools in a day when handicapped children were relegated to institutions or at best, schools that segregated them from the normal students. Remarkable teachers saw his potential and worked with the family to encourage that potential.

Then like a genie in a bottle, Alvin was recognized for his musical ability and he joined the band. Within an impossibly short time, he became an award winning musician and graduated from high school with honors. He then graduated, again with honors, from College and embarked on a career in Broadcasting.

In 1981, he took a hiatus from disc-jockeying in FM Radio and joined a company who, through a federal grant of the International Year of Disabled Persons, conducted awareness seminars in hundreds of schools across the province of Alberta, Canada. Thus began his adventures in the field of motivational speaking.

You can read more about Alvin Law at http://www.alvinlaw.com/about.php

Conference Speakers

Mark Albany

Mark Albany is from the Songhees Nation and has lived his life on reserve.  He is not a residential school alumni having attended local public schools.  He has a Masters degree in Counselling through Gonzaga University and a Bachelor's degree in Social Work from UVic.  He has worked in various social service agencies in Victoria and has been with the Greater Victoria school district for the past 20 some odd years.  He works in our schools as a counsellor and district resource person representing the local First Nations.

Rod Allen

Rod Allen

Rod Allen is a Superintendent of Achievement with the Ministry of Education, appointed in January 2008.

Rod began his career in education in 1984 in LaLoche, a small isolated Aboriginal community in northern Saskatchewan where he taught grades 8 and 9 for three years.  This experience marked the beginning of Rod’s interest and commitment to rural education.  From 1987 to 1989 Rod was a volunteer teacher in a rural village in Lesotho. Since returning to Canada in 1989, Rod taught at most grade levels in Kaslo and the Bulkley Valley where he advanced through school and district leadership positions.  Rod served as Superintendent of Schools in SD 54 (Bulkley Valley) prior to being appointed Superintendent of Achievement.   Currently, Rod has a leading role in BC’s transformation to personalized learning.

Rod received his undergraduate degree, teaching qualification, and Masters in Education Administration from the University of Victoria and is married with two children, both at the University of Victoria.

Theresa Campbell

Theresa Campbell

President of Safer Schools Together, an organization focused on promoting a climate and culture of safety in schools.

Theresa established Safer Schools Together (SST) in 2008, to provide opportunities for extensive professional development in the areas of safe and caring schools and violence prevention. In addition to hosting training symposiums, SST has authored the Safe & Caring School Tool to measure the climate and culture of a school, as well as ensure best practices are followed and the Ministry of Education mandates regarding school/student safety are met. Recommendations from each assessment are aimed at ensuring that positive programs and proactive measures to address bullying, drugs and fighting are implemented, or enhanced, ensuring students, staff and parents feel safe and comfortable in their respective schools.

Theresa is the executive producer of five award-winning gang prevention documentaries and a certified trainer and consultant with the Canadian Centre for Threat Assessment & Trauma Response. She is also the Executive Director for the International Centre for Threat Assessment and serves as a representative on municipal, provincial and federal committees. Theresa has been recognized for her work by all three levels of Canadian government.

Heather Coey

Heather Coey is a teacher at Reynolds Secondary School and an outstanding mentor within her school community.  Her dedication, commitment and passion for her work and for her students drives her to help her students reach out to find what they are passionate about.

She believes that garden sustainability in schools fundamentally needs to be tied to curriculum.  Coey is one of SD61’s champions of school-grown produce and has built ecological responsibility into both the Science 10 and Planning 10 courses offered at Reynolds.  Her efforts with students, parents and administration have also resulted in the construction of an onsite garden.

Larry Espe

Larry Espe

Larry is a born-and-raised northerner.  He started teaching in the Peace River North School District in 1981.  Larry has been an administrator at four different schools; assistant superintendent; and in 2006 was appointed superintendent.  In March of this year he accepted a secondment to the Ministry of Education to work as the Superintendent of Trades and Transitions.

Larry and his wife, Deb, have three children whose unique talents and abilities inspire his pursuit of educational transformation.

John Fawcett

John Fawcett is currently the District Principal of Student Services for the Greater Victoria School District.  The major focus of his work in the district is supporting schools and students to find alternate pathways to secondary school completion.  Prior to working at the district office, John was the Principal of Mount Douglas Secondary and École Quadra Elementary.  Formerly a music and drama teacher, John holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership.


Cindy Harte, Amy Polson, Jody Waldie and Deb Whitten

In September 2012 Greater Victoria School District had a special opportunity to take part in the groundbreaking neuroscience research into self-regulation by becoming a First Wave Team in the Canadian Self-Regulation Initiative.

You will meet four Greater Victoria School District members of this team:

Cindy Harte, Principal of Torquay Elementary School

Amy Polson, Vice-Principal of Lake Hill Elementary School

Jody Waldie, Principal of Lake Hill Elementary School

Deb Whitten, Principal of SJ Willis Alternative School


Heidi James

Heidi James

Heidi James is Grade Six Teacher at Colquitz Middle School.  She has been a school leader in the use of technology in the classroom while working at Colquitz. Through an Enhancing Learning Grant last year, Heidi was given access to iPads as a tool for connecting students with each other and quality information.  Through action research, she has demonstrated that the addition of iPads as a learning tool for certain learning activities, increases student engagement and allows for a more personalized approach to information acquisition.

Darren & Beth Laur

Darren & Beth Laur

Darren and Beth Laur live in Victoria British Columbia Canada with their son Brandon.  Darren has dedicated his life to public safety, and is currently a serving Staff Sergeant with the Victoria City Police Department with over 27 years of law enforcement experience.  

Darren is an internationally recognized safety expert/advocate, award winning published author and highly sought after international keynote speaker, who specializes in the area of personal safety and self protection both on-line and off-line.  

To date, Darren and Beth have presented their Internet and Social Media Safety programs to over 150 Schools, 125,000 Jr and Sr secondary students, and to thousands of teachers and parents throughout British Columbia, Saskatchewan and the United States, and both are a trusted and respected safety resource to businesses, government, schools, school districts and Law Enforcement in North America.

You can read more about Darren & Beth Law at http://www.personalprotectionsystems.ca/

Sherri Mohoruk

Sherri Mohoruk

Sherri Mohoruk was appointed as the Superintendent of Safe Schools in February, 2013.  She has responsibility for all aspects of student and school safety with a specific focus on six key areas:


  1. ERASE Bullying strategy
  2. Healthy Schools
  3. Internal government/national liaison on safety
  4. Threat/Risk Assessment and Critical Incident and Trauma Response
  5. Emergency Preparedness including common emergency procedures/practices
  6. Student issues that include substance misuse and abuse, mental health issues, child abuse and reporting, domestic violence and gang prevention

Sherri has worked in public education in both Canada and the United States.  She has worked as a teacher, principal, director for student services, director for curriculum and instruction and as an assistant superintendent.  She has a long standing interest in educational leadership, literacy, early childhood education and student safety.  She has presented nationally and internationally at a number of different levels.